I figured I'd write a post on my favorite nail care products, since I'm very pleased with their length and current health. It's been very hard to grow them out and retain them so I hope this might help others who have nail problems.
I have always had slow-growing, hard nails. I am thankful for the hardness, but they are generally EXTREMELY hard and non-flexible so they are prone to being hit and broken instead of simply taking the hit and bending. I also have a lot of peeling issues that cause cracks, which end up getting snagged and leading to breakage. The two most crucial items for me are, I believe, CND Solar Oil and my buffing block.
CND Solar Oil is a mixture of jojoba oil, Vitamin E, rice bran oil, and sweet almond oil. It comes in a polish-like bottle with a little brush, which makes me happy. I don't like creams or lotions because I have to dab and massage them on, which gets my fingers slick and sticky and inevitably gets my laptop greasy. No thanks. The brush lets you control where it goes which is especially nice when you have longer nails and need to get underneath the free edge of the nail. It has a little bit of almond scent, not overwhelming. The best thing is how quickly it soaks in! I'd tried Borghese's cuticle oil before and it always just sat on my cuticles and nails, never soaking in. Solar Oil gets sucked right in! I've heard this is due to the small particle size of jojoba and rice bran oil, but don't quote me.. not a scientist. Anyways, this really helps with keeping my nails hydrated and flexible which prevents a lot of breakage. I put it on once or twice a day when I'm sitting around and working on stuff and that's all I need.
My buffing block is, I think, from Sally Beauty. They have a ton of different kinds. You might also see these in a long oval form. Mine has 4 sides but I've seen some with 6 or 7! My primary use of this is to seal the free edge of my nail. I use the buff and shine sides to seal the layers together and it's cut down on my peeling significantly. It also helps a lot with the cracks and snags because it creates a nice, smooth surface. I do use the filing sides to file my nails when I get a crack or snag. Glass files are technically much easier on your nails but I find the buffing block's files to be fairly gentle as well while still allowing me to file quickly.
There are two other products I'd like to give credit to, as I believe they've helped significantly with my current nail health.
The first is Hoof Hands Hard as Hoof Nail Strengthening Cream. I always get mine at Walmart but you can look around. I put this on my nails for 5-10 minutes after I remove my polish (non-acetone remover, it doesn't dry out my nails as badly) and let it soak in, then wipe it off and push back my cuticles. Anything to help hydrate my nails! You can go here to check out the ingredients but it's got jojoba oil in it like Solar Oil, so that's nice.
The second is Borghese's Hydrati base coat. Yes, hydration, hydration, hydration.. I know. It's probably getting repetitive, but it's what works for me. I don't know how well it actually hydrates but I'm not about to change my routine now! It does really well with holding my polish on too and preventing staining, which is saying something considering that I wear a lot of dark colors, blues, and greens. With this and my Seche Vite topcoat, it's not uncommon for me to experience little to no tipwear for 5 days or so. Also, I'm a big fan of Borghese's brush, it's really wide with a rounded tip. I loooove wide brushes!
So this is how I take care of my nails. Nail care is a personal thing because everyone is different, but I hope by sharing this that someone else can learn and benefit.